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United on target for another first against Valencia

Despite the heavy 0-4 defeat suffered at West Ham in the Carling Cup last week, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to again leave a number of senior players out of his starting lineup for Tuesday night’s Champions League meeting with Valencia. Both clubs have already qualified for the knockout round although top spot in Group C is still up for grabs. United have 13 points from five games and will win the group if they avoid defeat against the Spaniards.

Another European clean sheet will also mean that United becomes the first club to go through the Champions League group stage without conceding a goal. Their tight defence in Europe has been in contrast to the erratic domestic record which has often been blamed on immature performances by some of the younger players. Six clubs currently hold the record for the fewest number of goals scored against them in the Champions League group stage. Ajax, Chelsea, Liverpool, AC Milan, Villarreal and twice by Juventus went through conceding just once.

With United facing important Premier League matches against leaders Arsenal and champions Chelsea in the next fortnight, manager Alex Ferguson’s policy of giving his youngsters a run around in Europe looks set to continue.

“We have some fantastic young players at the back” said 31 year old Wes Brown “You could play a good back five with some of them in there. Ben Amos in goal, Rafael at right back, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling in the centre and Fabio at left back.”

While the gamble to experiment has paid off in Europe, a youthful United side came crashing down to earth with that defeat at Upton Park ending a 29 match unbeaten run in all competitions. United got some extra rest this week as Saturday’s league game at Blackpool was postponed because of a frozen pitch while Valencia’s preparations have been less than ideal. They are still smarting from Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Real Madrid when a harsh second yellow card for midfielder David Albelda left them with a man short for the last 25 minutes.

Up until then they had held Jose Mourinho’s side, causing them problems by crowding the midfield and breaking quickly. The extra space worked in Cristiano Ronaldo’s favour and the former Manchester United forward scored twice in the closing stages.

Valencia were boosted by the news that goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez had been included in the squad for the trip to Old Trafford. The first choice keeper has been sidelined since last month with a calf injury but trained with the team on Sunday. The Spaniards are fifth in La Liga and will travel to United with one of the most potent strike forces, having scored 14 times in their five Champions League matches.

Manchester United have recorded many firsts in their long history, one more clean sheet on Tuesday night will give them another.

Can Manchester United set a new clean sheet record?

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No Responses to “United on target for another first against Valencia”

  1. RedScot says:

    The Key for me in this post is as simple as “having scored 14 times in their five Champions league matches.
    Dont piss around with the defence tommorow Sir Alex, Edwin, Rafael, Rio, Vidic,Evra.
    Or its gonna be a nail biting evening.
    I think in a way he has rotated way too much, I understand why to develop the younger players like Smalling and Fabio and Evans.Tommorow is not that sort of evening.If we do fuck around tommorow night, I see a night of despair.
    These are no mugs I watched them closely recently against Almeria for obvious reasons, they are magnificent on the counter attack.
    Thank god for Hernandez…..though in the Mestia or we would not be in this postion.A great chance…….Fucking take it United.

  2. RedScot says:

    *****Oppsie meant Mestiah******* I need a spell checker and grammar control. lol

  3. Tom Addison says:

    Agreed on the defence RedScot, I’m definitely taking some sort of crossbow into the stadium tonight in case John O’Shea ventures anywhere near the pitch. The advantage of some youngsters getting some experience is not worth the price that will be paid of, in the next round, playing a team that finished top of their group. Arsenal aren’t until Monday, plenty of rest time.

  4. Calvo(Beatseekaz) says:

    Hi Tom, im with you on the OShea topic and i actually think alot of the “senior” players who played against West Ham HAVE to take alot of the blame!.
    Rotation is fine if its “married” well i.e. Smalling with Vidic or Rio with Evans as neither have a “voice” and added with OShame and Fabio was NEVER gonna work in my opinion!
    However, now we´re playing a decent Valencia side who are capable of making life difficult for us and i for one would want to see a confident Utd side get the ball down and play positive football, doesnt have to be swash-buckling as we have a BIG game vs Arsenal but a performance that bears all the hall marks of confidence.
    As for the not conceding, thats neither here nor there, yes its good for the record books but the culture shock will come in the next round when ultimately teams (in the next round) are stronger and i wouldnt want there to be a false sense of security around “our inpregnable defence” when its painfully obvious to me that we havent played ANYONE of any serious note yet in the competition.
    Otherwise, lets get this game out of the way, with no injuries and then Arsenal!!!

  5. RedScot says:

    The defence was strong both the Brazilians excellent in my opinion.More Barcelona than you can imagine. Amos could be questioned on the shot “through his legs” but otherwise came through a babtism unscathed.Why did the defenders like Rio and Nemanja keep passing back to him……Cos they trust him.
    Three lungs was majestic emptying his tank and working like we all know he can do.Anderson was this the player we have seen over the last two years! WoW….Thats the level you have to get too to be a Manchester United player, Superb and he doubled his goal tally in one evening for United.
    Overall a great although not excting night, we are through as group leaders and we go on. Please as far as the teams through to this stage lets avoid Lyon and Likely teams to meet Roma would be good Inter would be a dwadle, Copenhagen would be heaven!

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